Baguettes being baked in an oven

Source: Tesco

Tesco is rolling out a ‘super lean’ in-store bakery (ISB) operation which allows it to bake in space-challenged stores.

The super lean operation is described as an “evolvement” of Tesco’s current convenience baking format but with one key difference – the use of a specially developed unit which accommodates all the equipment needed for this type of operation.

“In essence, the super lean equipment combines an oven, table, rack and trays (all of the elements required for a bake-off operation) into one unit that is 1.05 metres wide and 0.85 metres deep,” Tesco bakery specialist for ISB John Lamper told British Baker. “This enables us to bake products in stores and channels that previously would have been overlooked for an ISB operation based on the requirements of fitting a table and rack into the store space.”

There is also space for packaging and oven gloves so everything that is needed to deliver a baking operation exists within one small footprint.

“The key difference is that we have created a pull-out table which sits underneath the oven and can be pulled out when traying up products for baking or during any packing tasks,” he added. “At the bottom of the unit we have worked out the exact space required to store trays and products that delivers a credible range in space challenged stores.”

Baguettes on a tray in front of a small Mono oven

Source: Tesco

The trays and racks all fit within the unit meaning Tesco’s staff can bake in space-challenged stores

Operationally, the baking of products hasn’t changed, Lamper noted, as the current trays and bake programmes are still used for producing bread and sweet treats. The only difference is the ‘push in/pull out’ of the table.

The unit was developed through an exclusive partnership with Mono Equipment. Lamper, working alongside the supplier field team, approached the team at Mono with an idea of how Tesco could retrofit its current Express store ovens by modifying them to make sure they worked for colleagues in a confined footprint. After testing and fine-tuning at Mono’s site in Swansea, the final model, which is exclusive to Tesco, has been signed off for roll out in its smaller shops.

The super lean ISB operation is currently live in three stores – Bristol Bell Hill Express, Priorswood Express in Taunton, and Westway Hove Express in Brighton, with further stores in the pipeline.

“The super lean model enables us to re-visit stores which previously were not able to accommodate baking equipment and scope the ISB opportunity so we can deliver a high-quality fresh bakery offer to our customers there,” added Tesco in-store category buying manager Amanda Hart.

“We know that freshly baked products are important for customers in convenience stores,” Hart added. “We will continue to land our standard Express operation in those stores where space isn’t an issue but through developing the super lean model, we can now unlock even more channels in terms of providing high quality baked goods to our customers.”